Power play

RECENT reports have shown how conditions in Georgia might lead to a conflict of interests between the United States and Russia in North Caucasus, raising the spectre of the Cold War, which at its height was felt even in this enclave of the Soviet Union.

This time round Moscow finds itself in a bind, which many of its politicians and military men consider to be a threat to its national security. This became obvious when the US Ambassador to Georgia announced that the American troops stationed in Georgia would remain there permanently. Moscow had earlier warned what it described as arrangements for setting up a permanent American military base in neighbouring Georgia. US troops arrived in Georgia last year but it was said that the mission was to train the Georgian military. Although the US Embassy in Georgia subsequently moved to allay the apprehensions of Moscow, with the American ambassador speaking of an unspecified time-frame for cooperation but not suggesting that his country’s troops were on an open-ended mission in Georgia. In the meantime the Georgian Defence minister announced that the new cooperation programme with Washington would take five years provided the US takes care of the training of his country’s air and naval units at its expense. The question is, will Russia remain a silent spectator as military cooperation intensifies between its strategically important neighbour and Washington? Only time will tell.

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